Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Heathfield Hospice shop suffers burglary. Hospice in the Weald’s Heathfield charity shop suffered a break-in last weekend. The shop, run by Rachel McNeil and her team of 24 volunteers from the local community, was entered by intruders via a smashed glass window. Smashed glass and damage left the shop closed and its regular supporters forming a frustrated queue outside the door. Emma Askey, a Heathfield resident says: ‘The Hospice help so many local people and families, it’s just awful that someone would steal from them. It’s terribly sad that people would steal from a charity.’ Sharon Gills, Head of Retail says: ‘The closure of the shop this morning will undoubtedly result in a loss of income for the Hospice. Not only does it affect our income from shoppers, but our donations too. We have had to turn supporters away this morning, but the police have attended the site and we are helping them with their enquiries.’ Hospice in the Weald has had a location in Heathfield for the last six years and the shop has become a focal point on the high street for Hospice supporters, volunteers and local residents looking for bargains and treasures. Nick Farthing, Income Generation Director, says: ‘Our charity shops play a vital part in helping us raise the £7 million we must reach each and every year to ensure the Hospice can support our patients, families and carers. We will need to work hard to ensure the Heathfield shop recovers from this incident – with help from the community. I hope that our supporters will return to shop, donate and volunteer; perhaps we will even see new faces to join us and help us recover.’ The shop is close to the site for Hospice in the Weald’s new service, Cottage Hospice, opening in the Autumn of 2019. Building work is currently in progress on the Five Ashes site which will allow the Hospice to meet more unmet need across the community. The 10-bed building will enable patients to continue to be cared for by their loved ones at the end of life, and is the first service of this kind in the UK. The Hospice’s charity shops contributed £1 million profit towards the Hospice’s income last year; more than the Hospice receives in government funding. The charity shops are set to do the same again this year. These funds help to ensure that patients with a terminal illness, their families and carers can access vital Hospice care free of charge.

M23 ROAD CLOSURE: The following works are scheduled on the M23, subject to weather conditions: February 14 and 15, 10pm to 4pm Lane closure leading to a full closure on J10 exit slip Northbound. Diversion to J9 and back.

BRIGHTON MAIN LINE: Improvement Project. Please also note that the Brighton Main Line Improvement Project is underway. This project will focus on the southern end of the Brighton Main Line between Three Bridges and Brighton. Major engineering work is planned for the Victorian-era tunnels and the railway which runs through them. Key dates are Saturday February 16 to Sunday February 24 plus several weekends. This will mean significant changes to train services across the Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink networks and longer journey times for some passengers. No trains will run between Three Bridges and Brighton or between Three Bridges and Lewes on these dates. Brighton and stations to the West will have trains to and from London, but these will be diverted via Littlehampton and Horsham. There will be no direct trains to London from Lewes or Eastbourne between these dates. For more information please visit You can also sign up there to receive the latest updates.

To contact Sussex Neighbourhood Watch please E-mail enquiries@ or visit

FOUND PROPERTY: Update on found property. All police forces nationally will no longer record reports or accept responsibility for some found property items. The national decision was approved by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) after discussions between police forces and the National Police Front Counters Forum (NPFCF). Traditionally, police have accepted the responsibility of recording lost and found property, although there is no statutory duty to do so. This change follows recent amendments to the way police record lost property. Reports on lost and found property can be made on our website

WEALDEN ALERTS: Join in the Great British Spring Clean. Wealden District Council has pledged its support for this year’s Great British Spring Clean, run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The campaign, which runs from March 22 to April 23 will see up to half a million people take action to clean up streets, parks and beaches across the country. The Great British Spring Clean brings together individuals, community organisations, businesses and councils to make a difference to the environment on our doorstep and in 2018 around 370,000 #LitterHeroes collected more than 630,000 bags of rubbish. We are hoping many individuals and community groups from Wealden will join in. Last year 37 groups across the District collected some 2.5 tonnes of litter in their local communities. To find out how you can take part in the Great British Spring Clean in Wealden visit /springclean, email: springclean@ or telephone 01323 443322. Further information about the Great British Spring Clean can be found at

SUSSEX LUND: Sussex Lund is a grants programme of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It supports small-scale, practical projects that improve the landscape of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The programme is focused on the High Weald AONB (which covers parts of West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent and Surrey) but applications from nearby areas will be considered. It supports projects in the wider countryside as well as those in hamlets, villages and towns, such as churchyards, school grounds, recreation areas and roadside verges. Sussex Lund is open to everyone: community groups, schools, churches, parish councils, charities, businesses, farmers and landowners. If you are a private landowner or a for-profit organisation you will need to demonstrate that the landscape and public benefit is greater than any private gain. Sussex Lund will consider applications from past applicants for new projects, but not for the continuation and maintenance of previously funded projects. Sussex Lund will consider supporting any project that makes tangible improvements to the High Weald’s landscape. For example projects that: Improve its habitats, such as creating ponds and wetland, removing non-native species (for example rhododendron and leylandii), planting new hedges and restoring old ones, planting trees, coppicing woodland, planting orchards, developing more species-rich grassland, putting up bird, bug and bat boxes or creating more wildlife-friendly allotments and greenspace. Improve its scenic beauty, such as planting street trees, reducing sign and light pollution, removing or screening eyesores, replacing ‘hard’, man-made boundaries with soft, natural boundaries, clearing litter. Improve access, such as installing boardwalks to prevent damage to wetland habitat, creating new access points to green spaces, creating permisive paths to link existing routes and removing physical barriers that prevent people accessing the countryside.

Sussex Lund will not contribute towards the costs of educational or outreach activities, though they may form part of your project. It will consider training costs as part of a project that achieves tangible change. One-off grants of between £500 and £10,000 are available. Ideally you will spend the grant within a year of accepting your grant offer but projects that take longer will be considered. Sussex Lund may award larger grants for collaborative projects involving two or more organizations (eg, community groups, charities, parish councils). The Panel may also consider larger grants to single organizations working with multiple landowners on projects that cross landowner boundaries and enable people to share skills and equipment. There is no requirement for match funding, however, the Grants Panel decision will take into account your own or others’ commitment to the project in the form of cash, in-kind support or time. The Panel considers applications once a year. The closing date for 2019 applications is noon on Monday April 8. If you are considering applying it is essential that you contact us for informal advice about the suitability of your project and tips on how to submit a strong application. We may recommend a free site visit to help you with your project development and planning. It is important to us that the applications we receive have a good chance of success. You can download the application form and guidance document Sussex Lund Application Form 2019 (1.14 MB) pdf Sussex Lund Application Form 2019 Example of completed table (52 KB) pdf Sussex Lund Criteria and Guidance 2019 (111 KB). Your application will be presented to the Sussex Lund Grants Panel in June. You will told of the panel’s decision in July. Sussex Lund is administered by the High Weald AONB Partnership in collaboration with Lund Trust, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. For an informal discussion about your project please contact one of the Partnership’s land management advisers, Ross Wingfield 01424 725604 or Christine Meadows on 01424 723009 or email us at

CROSS IN HAND: Cross in Hand Amenities Society. Darch’s Wood Saturday February 16. Another opportunity to join us to clear rhododendrons. Bring your loppers, tree saws, rakes or other items of kit and we’ll find you gainful employment for a couple of hours in a smoke-filled wonderland. For those not up to chopping, sawing or raking, we’ll cut pokey sticks and put you in charge of the bonfire(s). Unless the weather is bad (storm, tempest or a plague of frogs) we plan to meet at the pond at around 1:30pm and finish up when we’re either too tired or we lose daylight.

Please check Facebook or phone: 07531 077955 if the weather is bad or for future dates.

HAPPY TAI CHI: Is holding classes at Cross in Hand Village Hall, Cross in Hand on Thursday evenings. They run from 5pm to 5.45pm (school age children,) 6pm to 7pm (adults) and 7pm to 8pm (adults). Tai Chi cultivates the calmness of mind and aids mental activities. It has been shown to relieve stress and lower blood pressure. An excellent complement to yoga, dance and sports, Tai Chi improves balance, flexibility, posture, muscle tone, skeleton strength and full body coordination. Contact Tara Tuen-Matthews at or ring her on 07582 279908.

HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: On Saturday morning we popped into the new Cafe Style opposite Sainsburys to say hello to our MP Huw Merriman. One of his current priorities is to try and persuade East Sussex County Council that safety measures are necessary outside our village schools, particularly in Punnetts Town (where the school is the other side of the main road from the car park) and in Hurst Green (where children and families have to navigate the main A21). Huw wished the owners of the new cafe, Lee and Christopher, well and heard about their plans for the future which include a vaping shop on the floor above. They point out the café is open from 6.30am so a good chance to pick up a coffee or sandwich on the way to work. Also there was Chris’s grandfather, Barry Marlowe who works hard to maintain transport links in the District.

FARMERS MARKET: The next market will be held tomorrow, Saturday, Co-Op car park, Heathfield High Street. There will be all the usual stalls selling fresh fish, vegetables, meat, game, sausages, chicken, eggs, bread, olives, spices and plants and flowers. Also on sale are dog treats and candles. Please come along and buy good food and local arts and crafts and support your local farmers and producers.

Stall holders wanted. A jam and marmalade seller is sought for Heathfield Farmers Market held on the third Saturday in the month, 9am to 12.30pm, Co-Op car park. This is due to our very long standing stallholder of seven years, Wish End Farm, moving out of the area. You must have public and product liability insurance in place, comply with Food Hygiene Regulations and be able to attend regularly. A regular cake seller is also sought for Heathfield Farmers Market. They are looking for someone who will sell cakes, such as a large victoria sponge, fruit cake or lemon drizzle and slices of cakes. Must have public and product liability insurance in place and comply with Food Hygiene Regulations. If you ae interested in any of the above stalls please contact farmersmarket or call: 01892 610314 for more information

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Coffee, tea, chat and cake. This group is designed to encourage interaction between the demographic groups in both our close knit communities. It provides an opportunity for people to chat, tell stories, share experiences, have a game of cards or dominoes maybe and is a good opportunity to suggest new activities. It also provides an opportunity for Mayfield residents to attend something in the lovely Five Ashes Village Hall and link up with other villagers and friends in a relaxing and welcoming environment. Yes, in case you are wondering there are men who come along. If you are a parent, grandparent, carer or nanny, come and relax for half an hour with a brew and sumptuous cake before you pick up the children. We would be glad to see you and you would be most welcome. Everyone is welcome to join us in Five Ashes Village Hall from 2.30pm to 4pm on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. Date of next tea, chat and cake is February 20. If you would like to attend, but need help with transport, or for further information please contact Shirley Holland on 07908 516875.

GOOD NEIGHBOURING SCHEME: Have you got a bit of time to be a good neighbour? There are many ‘good neighbours’ in our community, all helping someone, who maybe lives next door or across the road, popping in to check their neighbour is OK, but there are still many people, who for one reason or another, have few visitors or can’t get out, so they can go days without seeing someone. The scheme aims to keep the social interaction going between all generations in the village, or those who might find it difficult to get to social events, and not forgetting those who find it hard to face those events. It involves providing a little visit to someone, in a way that can fit in with your lifestyle too. Some suggestions are: Popping in for a cuppa and chat for an hour a week or fortnight, accompanying a person to an activity, offering to get someone some shopping and help unpack it whilst having a chat, taking someone shopping or accompanying someone for a walk. If you think that you would like to be part of this rewarding scheme then please contact Shirley Holland on 07908 516875 or email

HORAM: Hidden Spring Vinyard. Here is an update on what has been going on at the vineyard. Winter Pruning. The vineyard has now completed the winter pruning, removing most of the canes that grew last year, leaving one cane cut back to 10 buds. Later in the year, once the frost risk has passed they will look at bud-rubbing to reduce those numbers if necessary, but the vineyard is on track for a much larger harvest this year. 2018 saw around 10 tons of fruit from the vines. They are looking at potentially to double the crop this year. To help with the canopy management this year the vineyard has dropped both pairs of canopy wires. These will be lifted again in the spring and summer as the shoots grow longer and will help contain them. This should reduce the amount of tucking-in required. Trunk Maturity. As the vines are maturing and the trunks are thickening and toughening up, the rabbit guards have been removed from around 90 percent of the vines. These vines are now strong enough to survive most small predators and that will help bud-rubbing later in the spring too. The vineyard has also installed a mile of rabbit fencing around the perimeter of both fields to reduce the number of rabbits getting in, but the weaker vines will keep their individual guards for now. Winery Update. Wine in barrels and tanks - from harvest to delicious wine. The vineyard had had a fantastic harvest in 2018 with all varietals producing excellent quality fruit which we pressed and fermented during September and October. In the winery, the wines have long completed fermentation and been racked off the course lees (yeast sediment). This was followed by a few months on the fine lees with regular lees stirring to distribute the fine yeast lees through the wine which helps protect the wine as well as add flavour and body. Just before Christmas, the wine was filtered to remove the yeast and other particles and let the wine cool down naturally over the new year. The wines are already tasting delicious and showing the lovely aromas and fruit character of grapes which are for the first time from Hidden Spring’s own vines. Preparing for Bottling. In the winery, the wines have long completed fermentation and been through their first coarse filtration to remove the yeast. Over the winter they will undergo cold stabilisation to prevent formation of crystals once bottled. This involves chilling the wine to -3℃ for two-three weeks so is ideal to do at this time of year. It should then be ready for bottling in April and have the still wines to taste in May. The sparkling wines will be laid down for two-three years to mature and develop so watch this space on the progress.